Baxter re-elected Scottville mayor

November 12, 2012

SCOTTVILLE — The Scottville City Commission re-elected Joe Baxter as its mayor Monday night. Baxter has been serving as mayor since 2010. The Scottville city charter states the city commissioners select the town’s later instead of the populous, like the city of Ludington.

Baxter was nominated by commissioner Bonnie Pfefferle and seconded by commissioner Richard Maki. Maki was re-elected Mayor Pro-Tem. Both nominations were voted on unanimously by the city commission.

“For the past 30 years I have served this community in many capacities,” Baxter told the commission. “I have never shirked on those responsibilities and I will not do it now.”

Baxter is currently under investigation by the Michigan State Police for a motor vehicle accident that occurred the morning of October 18,  in which he drove his vehicle over a ravine at the end of East Second Street. Because he is a city official, the Michigan State Police was called in to investigate.

Witnesses at the scene told MCP that they saw Baxter’s vehicle driving past their house at a high rate of speed. The witnesses’ house was located near the intersection of Columbia and Second streets, over a block away from the dead end and ravine. Baxter told another media outlet that he was swerving to miss deer.

“It was raining hard and I had two deer come out in front of me,” he said about the accident. He said he hit the brake and “shot to the end of the street,” ending up in the ravine. Baxter was heading to his home on Elm Street when the accident occurred. Elm Street is the last street that intersects with Second Street before it dead ends about 60 feet past the intersection. The ravine then begins about another 20 feet past the end of the street.

As of this posting, the MSP has yet to send the results of the investigation to Mason County Press. A Michigan Freedom of Information Act request was made and the state police responded on Oct. 31 stating it required the allowed 10 days extension. That extension expires on Thursday.

Scottville Police Chief Mark Barnett said that investigations can often take up to two months, depending on the agency’s work load.

Editor’s note: The information presented in this article is not an attempt to accuse Mayor Baxter of any wrong doing, but rather to present the facts of the incident, which are that he is under investigation at this time. We have been contacted by many citizens in Scottville asking about this case and feel we have a responsibility to report it. Because he is the mayor, it is related to city business. A person is innocent unless proven guilty. 

In other business, the city commission also approved its five year master plan. The master plan was approved, for the second time in a year, by the planning commission during its regular meeting last week.

City Manager Amy Williams also announced that there are currently vacancies on three boards: Planning Commission, Parks and Recreation and Board of Review. The Board of Review position is the most crucial at this time, she said, because it is a three member board scheduled to meet next month. The board members are paid and meet up to three times a year to review citizen concerns about their tax assessments. The board position is limited to Scottville city residents. Anyone interested should contact Williams at Scottville City Hall.

Editorial disclosure: Editor-in-Chief Rob Alway is the vice chairman of the Scottville Planning Commission. This is a volunteer, appointed position. 

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